Wolverines fall 1-3 in first-place matchup vs UTRGV

Reading Time: 3 minutes The Utah Valley women’s volleyball team had their nine-game winning streak snapped by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros on Saturday.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Utah Valley women’s volleyball team (16-8, 10-2 conference) lost to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros (22-5, 11-1) 3-1 (23-25, 26-24, 16-25, 19-25) on Saturday at the Lockhart Arena in Orem, Utah. 

The Wolverines now find themselves in second place in the Western Athletic Conference standings while UTRGV claims the top spot. The loss ended the Wolverines’ nine-game winning streak. 

Tori Dorius led the Wolverines in kills with 14 and Avery Shewell followed with 13 kills and four blocks. Makayla Broadbent led the team in blocks with six while tying the team-high in service aces with two. Bryton Nixon led the team in digs with 18 and had five assists and one service ace. Abbie Miller led the team in assists with 27 and had two service aces. 

Kazna Tanuvasa had seven kills and 11 digs and Natalie Palmer had 14 assists and 10 digs. Caleigh Vagana also had five blocks.

The first set started out with a 5-2 run by the Vaqueros before the Wolverines, led by two kills from Dorius, went on a 6-0 run to take the lead 8-5. The Vaqueros responded with two different 2-0 runs and two different 3-0 runs to eventually retake the lead 15-13 over UVU. 

The Wolverines used another 6-0 run to take a 19-15 lead. Both teams then exchanged points to make the score 22-18 before UTRGV erupted for a 7-1 run to end the set with a 25-23 victory and 1-0 match lead. 

The second set began more back-and-forth with the Vaqueros opening the match with a 14-12 lead. UTRGV then went on a 4-0 run to extend their lead 18-12. 

The Wolverines, with three kills from Dorius, responded with a 6-1 run to cut the deficit 19-18. UTRGV answered with a 3-1 run to go back up 22-19. UVU, with two kills from Shewell, went on a 5-1 run to take the lead 24-23. 

The Vaqueros responded with a quick kill by Claudai Lupescu to tie the set 24-24. Fortunately for the Wolverines, back-to-back kills by Miller and Shewell, respectively, would propel the Wolverines to a 26-24 set victory and tie the match 1-1.

The third set began with both teams trading points until UTRGV took a 7-5 lead. The Wolverines again used a big run in response, going 5-1 to take a 10-8 lead. 

The Vaqueros responded with a 6-2 run to commandeer a 14-12 lead. The Wolverines then began to chip away the lead to eventually close UTRGV’s lead down to 16-15. Despite the hard effort by UVU, UTRGV then went on a 9-1 run to close out the match with a 25-16 set victory and take a 2-1 match lead. 

UTRGV continued their momentum into the fourth set and opened with a 9-4 lead before the Wolverines, started by two kills from Tanuvasa, went on a 5-1 run to cut the deficit 10-9. The Vaqueros then went on a 2-0 run before the Wolverines went on a 4-0 run to take their first lead of the match 13-12. 

The Vaqueros erupted for a 5-0 run to go up 17-13. UVU responded with a 2-0 run before UTRGV used a 3-0 run to go up 20-15. Using a service error and two kills from Kalea Kennedy, the Wolverines used a 3-0 run of their own to get back within two, making the score 20-18. 

However, the Vaqueros went on a 5-1 match to close out the set with a 25-19 to win the match 3-1.

The match marked the final home game of the season for the Wolverines, where they end with a 9-3 home record.

The Wolverines now look to bounce back in their final two games of the season on the road, starting with a match against the California Baptist University Lancers on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT at the Van Dyne Gym in Riverside, California. The match can be streamed via ESPN+.